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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Gators ready to give freshman receiver Thompson a chance
By Times staff and wires
Published September 28, 2007
GAINESVILLE - For the second straight day, Florida coach Urban Meyer discussed the possibility of playing freshman Deonte Thompson at wide receiver, and it looks likely that Thompson will see his first action with the Gators against Auburn on Saturday.
"We're nicked up, and plus he's earned it," Meyer said. "That's the biggest thing, and there is nothing like game experience.
"I think he's game ready, and I am going to try to get him in there and see how it goes. He was not game ready until this week."
Meyer also discussed burning the redshirt of cornerback Moses Jenkins against Auburn and talked about possibly playing freshman defensive tackle John Brown this season.
Brown missed the first few weeks of the season as he waited to be cleared academically by the NCAA Clearinghouse.
"Really impressive, like really impressive," Meyer said. "He won't play this week, but he is going to start getting a look. He's finally starting to get into shape, and he's catching up a little bit."
INJURY UPDATE: Wide receiver Percy Harvin (hip pointer) missed part of practice, but should be ready for Saturday, Meyer said.
"He practiced, I wouldn't say 100 percent," Meyer said, "but I anticipate he'll be 100 percent by game time."
Fellow wide receiver Riley Cooper, who has a sprained ankle, should also be ready to go.
Kicker Joey Ijjas practiced for the first time this week after suffering a strained groin last week. Ijjas should be fine and was held out for precautionary reasons.
Defensive tackle Brandon Antwine has recovered from a hyperextended elbow, and Meyer is hoping Antwine can boost the pass rush.
"He's going to give us a little juice off the ball because he's quick," Meyer said.
Bryan Jones, Times correspondent
FSU: Piurowski starts
Land O'Lakes grad Caz Piurowski will be in a familiar spot Saturday.
After moving to offensive tackle during the offseason, Piurowski start at against No. 22 Alabama in place of injured starter Charlie Graham.
"Charlie has had a pretty decent week of practice thank goodness, but we will still start Piurowski," coach Bobby Bowden said.
Piurowski started two games at tight end last season, and played in ten. He caught seven passes for 55 yards.
Bowden did say that Graham will be available to play.
Not distracted: Bowden said he does not think Wednesday's announcement that the school self-reported NCAA violations will be a distraction.
"We didn't have anything to do with it," he said.
Jamey Givens, Times correspondent
UM: McKenzie better
CORAL GABLES - Receiver Jermaine McKenzie has received clearance to start wearing a helmet, but cannot participate yet in any contact drills.
McKenzie broke neck vertebrae in a one-car crash July 16. He wore a brace for about six weeks, and doctors waited about another month before clearing him to wear the helmet.
"For him just to line up and have a helmet on his head is great," coach Randy Shannon said. "It gives him confidence."
McKenzie and two teammates were hurt when McKenzie fell asleep while driving former Plant star quarterback Robert Marve's 2007 Dodge Charger, which rolled several times.
Marve suffered a broken wrist, and can still only participate in certain drills. Linebacker Colin McCarthy, from Clearwater Central Catholic, suffered minor injuries.
USF: vs. West Virginia, 8 tonight, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa.TV/radio: ESPN2; 970-AM
UF: vs. Auburn, 8 p.m. Saturday, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville.TV/radio: ESPN; 620-AM
FSU: vs. Alabama, 5 p.m. Saturday, Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.TV/radio: Ch. 10; 1470-AM
UM: vs. Duke, noon Saturday, Orange Bowl, Miami.TV/radio: none; 1470-AM